September Features:


Let's say we are a band and have arrived at the venue where we are playing. The equipment is unloaded and ready to be set up. We are ready to place the speakers used for the PA system. Most venues provide a stage to be used which dictates the placement of the speakers. It seems placement of the stage in most venues is rarely given consideration to aid in producing good sound. It also always seemed during my time on the road that anytime we returned to a venue that had "renovated" it meant they made the stage smaller and moved it to an even worse location for sound and visuals. But we can control a few variables concerning speaker placement.

Piezoelectric technology has come along way since first introduced decades ago. Thanks to various manufacturers, it’s possible to convert an existing electric guitar to acoustic/electric, or even build such a hybrid. To showcase an example of this technology, I present my most recent custom guitar, which was built for an up and coming local musician.

There is no music business fairy anymore. There are no record deals to be had, no advances to quit your job, no sexual experience after the show that is going to make you want to make music. These days, you are an artist...that's make music because you have to make music to be a happy and fulfilled person. People will feel that, you will make fans, you will go viral and then you will generate revenue. Until then enjoy speaking from your soul to those that will come to hear it. Make everything you do, from your posts on social media, to the conversations you have, to the bonding moments you share with your fellow band mates...all count for something. Once you realize that making music is a journey and not a destination, every moment will be its own reward.

But things are not as simple as they might seem for guitarists: you’re often up there front and center stage with the singer, and the main focus of attention for most of the crowd. And while the singer only has to concentrate on his or her microphone (and some attractive posturing, of course!), there’s a whole lot more responsibility for a six-stringer. Guitars, amps, effects, songs, solos, amorous fans – you’ve got to be in control of all these factors simultaneously if you’re to rise to the top of the pile!

Don't expect me to be some ham-handed used car salesman up there to push your watered-down "premium" drinks.
I will gladly tell people to get their drink on, but I'm not running an infomercial. Demanding that I stand onstage like David Lee Roth circa 1980 crowing about the magical properties of whatever high-dollar cocktail you have to offer is only going to make me less inclined to do it. You paid me to entertain people, not sell your booze. I know you think it's the same thing. It isn't.

Turning up late. To everything. Every. Single. Time.
Do you have some sort of disease that makes it impossible for you turn up on time?
We even developed an elaborate system where we tell you a time 2 hours earlier than when we need to arrive. You’re STILL an hour late.

As musicians who get all the glory, we feel it’s time to thank those whom we rely upon for the opportunity to showcase our talent and express our creative faculty to the local community. Because, as everyone knows, musicians don’t really need the money. We do it all for beer and blow jobs. We’re artists. We have no time for such trivialities as kids, mortgages, or car payments. Some of the things we love are all here.

I've been looking for gigs lately, I've never seen so many free and low paying gigs. Well the economy is bad, so I can understand that a little bit. However, it is no longer good enough for the musician to be willing to perform for little compensation. Now we are expected to also be the venue promoter? The expectations are that the band will not only provide great music, but also bring lots of people to their venue. It is now the band’s responsibility to make this happen, not the club owner.

In The Biz:

Those of us who have been around for over 40 years know a little bit more about the evolution of the music industry than our younger counterparts. Remember the 45? You know back when the Jackson 5 was a group and Michael Jackson had an afro? You had an A side and a B side. Then there was the LP and the 8 tracks. Most of us bought singles in those days because it was all we could afford. However, we got the music we wanted and record labels made money. Even when the tape recorder came out and we started recording our favorite songs off of the radio the industry still made money.

A band is a unique and complex relationship, and with so many different personalities and goals among band members, things can sometimes get tricky. Some people are direct, some are passive, some are more organized than others. "Musicians are sensitive and odd creatures," says songwriter/guitarist Paul Hansen of indie folk band The Grownup Noise. "So inevitably, it will be a dysfunctional, but hopefully loving, family."

Mental illness and music isn't a subject that is often discussed, but it is one that affects a disproportionate number of musicians. Many, probably most of us, can think of a time that music listening to it, playing guitar, writing and performing songs helped us through a difficult time in our lives. I know I can. Playing music is a way of achieving catharsis, to deal with our emotions by expressing them. I'm a long way from the troubled teenager I once was, but even now, there's nothing like grabbing an axe and rocking out to lift my mood if I get low.

These are some of the worst and most common hoaxes because they seem so benign but they can easily cost you a lot of money without getting you anywhere. They tend to disguise themselves in the form of some sort of legitimate opportunity from a legitimate business whether it be getting your song played on the radio, getting you a record deal, or letting you play a showcase in front of a big time A&R rep. The common thread though is that they will all ask you for money to get access. With the exception of membership-based organizations like ASCAP or The Recording Academy, press, marketing, or radio promotion agencies, or a qualified professional industry consultant (determining that requires research though), there are hardly any legitimate music businesses that will charge you in order to get access to a career opportunity (and honestly the aforementioned companies aren't charging you for access, they're charging for their services- but I didn't want to confuse anyone into thinking they are not legitimate businesses because they cost money).

Congratulations, your album is finally finished and you are ready to share your masterpiece with the world! You have already read "The Secret to Using Social Media to Build a Massive Base" and you are eager to implement those ideas and promote your project. You have gathered a list of websites, DJs, booking agents, A&R's and promoters to begin networking. Well... on that list is a sketchy promoter, an unethical booking agent and a commercial DJ waiting to take your money. There are members of the music community who prey on unsigned musicians. "The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side."-Hunter S. Thompson.


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